Specialist factual producer Blakeway Productions has scored two new history commissions from Channel 5.

1939: Hollywood’s Golden Year will revisit the glitz and glamour of Hollywood’s golden era across two 90-minute specials.

Tony Robinson’s History of Britain, co-produced by Motion Content Group, is recommissioned for a second series.

Zinc Media-owned Blakeway has previously produced a string of films for Channel 5 including: Henry VIII: Man, Monarch, Monster; Elizabeth I & Elizabeth II: Britain’s Golden Queens; Queen Victoria and Her Tragic Family; and Egyptian Tomb Hunting.

Across two 90-minute specials, 1939: Hollywood’s Golden Year will employ a cast of family members, intimates and experts such as Judy Garland’s daughter Lorna Luft; Hollywood expert and star Stephen Fry; Laurence Olivier’s son Tarquin and director Peter Bogdanovich to celebrate the films of the single year when classics such as Wuthering Heights, The Wizard of Oz and Gone With The Wind were made. They’ll unravel the intertwined stories of the studio moguls and directors as well as stars such as Judy Garland, Bette Davis, John Wayne, Hettie McDaniel, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh into a sumptuous chronological narrative.

The second series of Tony Robinson’s History of Britain, (4 x 60 mins) follows the first series in 2020 in which Tony Robinson took an in-depth and entertaining look at the history of Great Britain through the everyday lives of ordinary people.  In the second series, Tony dives into four different tumultuous eras of British history and discovers fascinating but unsung people. In this new series he will travel back in time to the Roman era, the Middle Ages, the Edwardian era and the 1950s, taking a ‘bottom up’ view of each period.

1939: Hollywood’s Golden Year was commissioned by Daniel Pearl at Channel 5. It is executive produced by Emma Hindley for Blakeway at Zinc Media.

Tony Robinson’s History of Britain was commissioned by Denise Seneviratne at Channel 5. It is jointly exec produced by Emma Hindley for Blakeway at Zinc Media and Tony Robinson and Martin Oxley for Motion Content Group. It is distributed internationally by BBC Studios.

Emma Hindley, Creative Director at Zinc for Blakeway, says: “History is incredibly important to us as a company. Blakeway is able to approach the genre in a multitude of ways, to appeal to a wide range of audiences. Both these commissions represent an accessible take on their subject matter, whether it be exploring the glitz and glamour of Hollywood’s golden era via the entertaining and insightful stories of the biggest stars of its day, or Tony Robinson’s inimitable skill at seeing British history’s biggest moments through the eyes of ordinary Brits.  We’re delighted to be growing our relationship and history portfolio with Channel 5.”

On the commission of 1939: Hollywood’s Golden Year Daniel Pearl, VP, Commissioning Editor, Channel 5, commented: “This show will take an in-depth look at one of the most glamorous times in Hollywood which I know our viewers are going to love. With never-before-seen footage and interviews with the people who knew them best, it will reveal some of the best kept secrets of Tinsel town’s most famous icons.”



Jon Creamer

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